Today, during Black History Month, I am going to talk about a person from my hometown of York, Pa. who I look up to a great deal – Bobby Simpson.
Bobby is the chief executive officer of an innovative community organization in York, Crispus Attucks Association in York. The organization takes its name from Crispus Attucks, a freed African-American slave who was among the first to die in the American Revolution at the Boston Massacre.
Crispus Attucks Association is truly a gem for a city like York. Some may be surprised to hear this, but York has a lot of problems with crime, poverty, school issues, etc. The CA, as it’s known around York, offers a variety of services and programs that focus on education, community development, senior assistance, affordable housing, and more.
Bobby took over the CA in 1979 at a critical time. Founded in 1931, it had some recent organizational turmoil, with several executive directors leaving after short stints. Bobby has been the organization’s leader ever since, and has expanded and diversified the organization’s offering.
At one time, the CA was considered a “black” organization, but under Bobby’s vision it truly is an organization that will help anyone in need. I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting him several times, but each time I found it inspirational (even though I doubt he remembers me). One was at a community clean-up event, where he gave a brief talk on the importance of taking charge in a neighborhood in order to improve it.
York has so many problems, but I shudder to think what it would be like without the CA. People like Bobby Simpson exist in every community – they do so much with little fame outside their home area. But the impact they make is profound.